How can I stop my cat from marking his territory?
Marking territories is not a new concept among cats. In fact, a cat will mark his territory at some point in life. This is because it is a natural behavior led by your cat’s wild instincts. Both male and female cats will mark territories, especially when subjected to various conditions.
More often than not, cats will mark their territories by the use of their own urine. It is meant to communicate with other cats, to either attract them or chase them away. In the wild, territory marking is a means of survival for cats.
However, since marking territories will involve urine, this might become a hustle for you. Imagine coming home, all tired from work, only to find your bed wet and stinking of cat urine. This is frustrating, even to think about it. Therefore, you will need to address urine marking a soon as possible in order to protect your items and furniture.
Before we proceed to look at urine marking, it is important that you make sure that your cat is healthy. Urinating outside the litter box may also be associated with urinary tract infections. If your cat is urinating everywhere, and especially when you can see, there is a good reason to look into the vice further.
It is even more concerning if your cat appears to have other symptoms of an infection that may include painful and frequent urination. This might also be accompanied by blood in the urine and in some severe cases blockage of the urinary tract. You should, therefore, watch out for these symptoms before addressing the behavior. In case you suspect your cat to have any illnesses do not hesitate to take him to the vet.
Do you want your home smelling like a litter tray?
Once you rule out any illnesses affecting your cat, it is time to deal with the cat marking his territory problem. So why do cats feel the need to mark territories?
Your cat already lives with you and knows that but he cannot stop marking your home. You must understand his behavior, even though it is disgusting, in order to correct it. Your kitty may be feeling threatened and wants to feel secure and hence the urine marking.
In other cases, your cat might be just exhibiting his sexual behavior. As mentioned before, it is important to keep in mind that your cat is almost always trying to communicate whenever he is marking. Let us look at some of the reasons cats feel the need to mark territories in detail;
To feel secure
Having his scent around the home is important for any cat to feel comfortable. This may happen with new kitties in their new homes. When you adopt a kitten, you will have to take him to your home, a place he has never been to. Just like you would, your cat is going to want to feel safe.
Even if he feels safe with you, it does not mean that he is comfortable with the surroundings. He will want to mark it as permanently his home to keep other cats away. In most cases, cats will mark by spraying on walls, trees, fences, or even windows.
This is a major reason for cats to mark territories. It is usually the case with most cats as they want to have that sense of belonging. It is common in new cats as they try to adjust to their new homes. In addition, if you recently moved from one house to another, your cat may also feel the need to mark.
By marking his territory, he is making sure that the local or stray cats are aware of his presence. He is trying to communicate with other cats about his boundaries, letting them know that there is a cat in that home. In most cases, your cat will mark the front door and sometimes your windows.
To bond with his owner
As mentioned above, cats do want to feel like they belong somewhere, or with a family. Since we mostly keep only one cat, we become their family. And since we are different, your cat will also mark you and your items as a way of creating a strong bond.
More often than not, your cat might mark your favorite item in the house. This might be your bed, sitting spot, or even your shoes. This way, your cat is going to be content and sure that there is a bond that ties you two together.
Cats with separation anxiety will tend to mark your bed or items whenever you are away from home. It might get worse if you stay for too long without getting back home.
To attract mates
If you do have an unneutered cat, you are going to have a problem when you are trying to deal with cat marking territories. This is especially when your cat is in heat who wants to attract a female cat for mating. In this case, your cat will spray your house and even outdoors if he has access to the outdoors.
As indicated earlier, cats are able to communicate with other cats using urine. Your cat will spray the fence, doors, and windows with urine. This urine will have a pungent smell and your cat will tend to go back to the spot more than once. The urine will also contain the details of your cat’s sex, age, and also his intentions to a potential female mate.
We have covered some of the most common reasons for cat marking his territories. Now we can proceed to discuss how to stop your cat from marking his territory.
My cat won’t stop marking territories, should I be worried?
The answer to this question depends on why your cat is doing so. You must be able to analyze your cat before you can start looking for a way to stop him from engaging in territory marking. The best way to solve this problem is by removing the motivation behind the habit. Below are some tips that you may use to stop your cat from marking his territory:
Create some time to spend with your cat
As mentioned earlier it is important for you to connect with your cat. He needs to feel safe and loved by his guardian and most importantly, he is looking forward to being a part of your family. Therefore, it is important for you to provide a safe space where you can both bond and learn about each other.
As said above, your cat might be marking his territories because he feels insecure and a little bit vulnerable. Even though life can take up so much time, we should never forget to bond with our cats. You should consider allocation some time for you and your cat to bond. During this time, you can engage in games, pets as well as let him curl up beside you.
Have your visitor bond with your cat
In the case where your cat feels left out because there I a guest in your home, you will have to come up with a way to make him bond with the guest. Understand even as your cat appears to be one lovable and social creature, he may also experience anxiety in such a situation.
If your guest will be leaving, it should not be a tough situation since your cat will quit the behavior. However, in a situation where the guest is going to stay for a few days, you may want to get them to bond.
The new person may feed the cat and join in during playtime in order to strengthen the bond. This might not work if your cat is marking boundaries upon bringing a newborn to the house. However, your cat is going to quit marking after a few days.
Get your kitty neutered
Marking territories can be problematic because your cat will spray to do so in most cases. Cats that have not been neutered will have the need to mark territories during the season. The urine marking I supposed to attract a female cat for mating. At the same time, your cat is sending a warning sign to other male cats to keep off the property.
For this reason, it is important to neuter your cat before he starts displaying sexual behavior. By doing so, you will also be eliminating the pheromones that increase hostility and especially in male cats. A friendlier cat will not find it necessary to mark your house for the sake of chasing away other cats.
In addition to this, neutering will also help by making sure that your cat does not reproduce. Cat parents should always make sure that their cats are neutered unless it is meant for breeding purposes.
However, you should be careful to refrain from neutering your cat when he is in heat. This could lead to excessive bleeding and as a result, your cat may develop complications. If your cat is marking territory because of sexual reasons, it is wise to wait until he calms down completely before neutering.
Separate your cats
Marking territories is quite a common practice among cats in a multi-cat home. This is because, just like humans, some cats just do not get well along with each other. This leads to one of the cats wanting to mark his boundaries to keep other cats off his territory. In this case, you should highly consider separating the two cats to stop all the spraying.
In addition to this, you should provide adequate space for your cats to play and associate with each other. The same case goes for resources such as food, water, and litter boxes as they should be readily available for your cats.
If your cat keeps on fighting, it is important to separate them. Put one kitty in another room and you will not have to worry about them marking territory in your home.
Restrict your cat from accessing the marked places
Since we have already discovered that your cat may pray to simply own the place, it is helpful to keep your cat out of the marketplace. For instance, if your kitty has marked your bed because he is looking to bond with you, you may restrict him from accessing your bedroom. You can simply close the bedroom door every time. Eventually, your cat is going to forget ever doing it.
Keep the doors closed
It is important to understand that your cat can mark his territories as a result of challenging other cats. For instance, if your cat can pick up the scent of other cats from the outside, he may want to mark his territory to reclaim it. Therefore, you may want to keep the doors closed to keep the bad odor away. This way, your cat will not have the need to protect him from being invaded by other cats.
Alternatively, you can also use odor sprays that will dissolve the smell of the other cats.
Clean off the urine
Most cats use urine to mark their territories. In most cases, your cat will keep marking the same place until he needs to mark the territory subside. In other words, your cat may repeat spraying the same spot over and over again to make it even stronger.
Once you figure out why your cat is engaging in this behavior, it is important to wash the marked surfaces. This will prevent your cat from repeating the behavior as he will not remember the scent. You should use enzymatic cleaners to wash off the urine from the spot. This will make sure that the smell and stains are all gone.
Cleaning should be the first step you take to control marking territories in cats.
All in all, understand that the most effective way of controlling territory marking in cats is by getting rid of the stimuli. This means that you will first of all have to find out why your cat has the urge to engage in the behavior. Only after then can you be able to come up with a solution to this problem. Make sure that your cat’s needs are fully met at home. It is also wise to check your cat’s health before actually deciding to use the above-outlined tips.
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